Saturday, September 29, 2012

Starcraft II - Wings of Liberty

Starcraft II - An Epic Sequel that is addictive and keeps to the original while borrowing from others such as Dawn of War II.
Review By SiriusBlackKS

Starcraft II, the sequel to a game that became something more than any RTS that had come before. It propelled the genre forward in huge leaps and bounds while bringing gaming into the mainstream across the globe. To some it is only a passtime, to others a competitive and televised sport. Want to know how the sequel stacks up to expectations and know if it is a sequel worthy of the original? Keep on reading.

CAMPAIGN: Gone is the simple mission - next mission system with little cutscenes. You now have a hub in between missions starting as a bar, and later as an upgradeable ship that you can visit different parts off. When you return to these areas after a fight you are treated to a ton of conversations, cutscenes, purchasable unit upgrade capabilities, watching TV, and even playing an arcade game in the corner. It really brings the experience to life. Those who have played dawn of war II will notice the strong draw from it's new campaign style in what is offered here.

The Campaign structure is set up for multiple playthroughs that I find comparable to the Halo series in structure, as you try and find all of the secrets on each level and complete the highest level of difficulty. Both yield new units and profile unlocks. The Protoss and Zerg research that you begin to find shortly into the game is just one of those sought rewards. One interesting aspect is how much your experience can change based on your mission order and research. One mission I completed called "Outbreak" had me defending a base "Night of the Living Dead" style from populous infected with a zerg virus. The mission was a breeze for me, because my zerg research had yielded an extra turret on each one of my bunkers. Each mission can have dramatic changes like this based on what you have researched, what you have upgraded, and what units you have unlocked through missions.

The campaign is crafted with brilliant presentation, and while it borrows heavily from Dawn of War II, it still does it well. It is almost becoming comical how much Starcraft really is trying to be warhammer 40k with a different name, but shamless ripoff or not, it is done VERY well. Perhaps we should call it an homage?  

My only complaint with the campaign is that it introduces a very large amount of units, upgrades, and structures that you will never see in multiplayer. While I understand the balance issues of some of this tech, it is a bummer to not have the campaign be a bit more faithful to the multiplayer to make the transition into versus matches more smooth. 

Regardless of any small complaints I may have experienced Starcraft II is one of the best in the genre to come along in many years. The campaign is beautifully told, engaging, immersive, and quite lengthy for it's genre as well as highly replayable. Starcraft II fans and just plain RTS fans should be extremely pleased.

MULTYPLAYER: This is the main reason many stay away from the series, because it is hugely competitive, and hard to have a snowball's chance of an even match. Blizzard came up with an awesome system here as well. You no longer have to find a match through a match list or automatching to random people (that may still kick your ass). Now when you enter the online area for the first time you join the practice league. In this league you play a few practice matches so that battle.net can determine your overall skill level and playstyle. Then you are placed in a league accordingly to give you the best multiplayer experience possible. This separates the power gamers and pro players from those who only want to play a match once in awhile and still have a fighting chance.

Even more incredbile, is the new game speed setting. You can now set the overall speed of the match from very slow, slow, normal, fast, and very fast. The difference is HUGE, with the slower modes giving the more casual and strategic players a chance to have starcraft tailored to them. On the slowest setting you will find near 4x (4x strategy style) games where each unit matters and can take several minutes to build a single unit. Those of us (like myself) that prefer base building and massive clashes will be overjoyed to play with these options rather than the "very fast" level click fests vs. pro players.

The multiplayer is also much more deep than expected, and than it's predecessor. It has a pretty large list of units and an even larger list of upgrades. There are many strategies to be found here, and something to keep each faction fresh. Each faction plays differently while keeping some universal traits to make changing factions the first time as smooth as possible.

All of this is tied into Blizzard's new battle.net system allowing cross game chat, unlockables, achievements you can display on your profile, and much more.

The game is gorgeous, fun, and full featured with settings to benefit every type of player. I highly recommend it, and like the first will be playing it for years to come.

NAME: STARCRAFT 2 - WINGS OF LIBERTY
SYSTEM: PC, Mac OS X

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1 comment:

  1. ZORG RAGE~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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